by Ryan Kurtz
On September 29th of this year my wife and I had a date night, our own small retreat from our home and four children. We started the evening by eating “unlimited shrimp” at Red Lobster thanks to a gift card that was given to us. After eating myself almost sick from the unlimited shrimp, we headed to Lowe’s to do some shopping for the list of items we needed at home, ranging from light bulbs and toilet paper holders to furnace filters. When I first entered the store I was fear-struck with what lay before my eyes. To my right, barely inside the door and right beside the Halloween “Must-have Merchandise,” was Christmas. Fake trees, lights, blow up lawn Frostys, and everything that comes out at Christmas was already on full display.
September 29th, 88 days, almost 3 full months before the holiday, Christmas preparation was already in full swing. I was genuinely shocked. I don’t know if it was the overindulgence of shrimp an hour earlier but I am beginning to feel as though I don’t really like Christmas anymore. I am now 40 years old so the child like excitement for Christmas has worn off around 2 ½ decades ago but I always did enjoy the day itself. This, however, is beginning to push me a little bit over the line. The line that separates Hooray from Humbug.
We all know people who reside on both sides of the line. The “Hoorays” can grow more than a little annoying. These are the people who are always counting down the days to Christmas and throwing ugly Christmas sweater parties. The Hooray’s love to shop for The Day as well. Getting up at 1AM on Good Friday to fight with other Hooray’s over items that are “unbelievable deals” is a cherished and time-honored tradition for them. I am convinced that these are likely the people that are starting Christmas in September.
The Humbug’s I never truly could fully relate to. They are always upset with the Hoorays for being happy, never put lights out in front of their house and sleep in on Christmas morning like it is just another Saturday. I never could relate to them before, but with the aforementioned business on the evening of September 29th happening, I began thinking that maybe I can begin to see where they are coming from.
How about you, which side are you on? Hooray? Humbug? Somewhere in the middle? Whichever side you find yourself on, Christmas day will be here before we know it. Gifts, lights, food, and ugly sweaters will all be out in full swing to celebrate The Day.
So, if you are a Hooray and can’t wait to drink the eggnog, or if you are a Humbug and are just looking forward to a day off work, when you see the lights and ugly sweaters, whether you like the caroling and shopping or not, I would like to remind us all of something: This coming Christmas day, the preparation and anticipation is only because of one thing.
The Love of God for us.
God sent His Son into this world, being born as a baby, grew into man and died so we don’t have to. To simplify what has become a significant portion of clutter in our lives, minds and hardware stores, Christmas day really is just about celebrating the greatest birthday of the year. The birthday of Jesus.
You know, maybe the greatness of Jesus birthday celebration is worthy of starting to plan for Christmas in September after all? Maybe the real “Hooray” should be the cry of our hearts shouting out thankfulness this Christmas for what God has done for us by giving us a Savior.
Do you know the day we really should start planning to celebrate Christmas next year?
It doesn’t matter if I get shrimp heartburn from seeing Christmas lights all year long, Jesus birthday is really worth preparing for 364 days in advance.
So, if you are a Hooray or a Humbug, as we head into the last few months before Christmas, as you see the Christmas sweaters and large Frosty blow-up lawn ornaments, take some time to reflect with a thankful heart on the real reason we celebrate Christmas.
God’s inseparable, unmeasurable, unchanging love for you.
And by the way, if you’re looking for a gift to give me for Christmas this year, just get me a gift card to Red Lobster.